(AP Photo/LM Otero)
New Dallas Mavericks players Lamar Odom, right, and Vince Carter, left, share a starting lineup pose with Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd during the team’s media day in Dallas today.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Kings head coach Terry Murray, left, looks at assistant coach Jamie Kompon during the second period of last Thursday’s game against Minnesota at Staples Center.
As the Kings start a four-game road trip in Boston with a four-game losing streak and the offense with the lowest goals-per-game average, team general manager Dean Lombardi announced this afternoon that head coach Terry Murray has been relieved of his duties.
Kings assistant coach John Stevens will assume interim head coach duties.
Murray, 61, began as the Kings head coach in 2008-09 and had a 139-106-30 regular season record. He ranks (list linked here) first in winning percentage (.560), third in wins (139) and fourth in games coached (275) in franchise history. The team went to the playoffs the last two seasons but lost in the first round.
Stevens, 45, is in his second season with the Kings organization, named an assistant coach prior to the 2010-11 season. He will be the 23rd head coach (including interim head coaches) in Kings history. Stevens was as the head coach for the Philadelphia Flyers from 2006-09 and had a 120-109-34 record, leading the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008.
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
San Francisco Chronicle
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
CIF state high school football championships, Home Depot Center in Carson: Open Division title game — Westlake vs. Concord De La Salle, 8 p.m., Saturday, Time Warner Cable; Division IV title game — Sierra Canyon vs. Le Grand, 4 p.m., Friday, Time Warner Cable:
Congrats to 14-0 Westlake for finally making it to the big statewide dance. Welcome to Carson. Concord’s De La Salle will be your chaperone. The Spartans (12-1), who just polished off their 20th straight section title, are 3-2 in these kind of major events, having defeated Servite last year 48-8. In the long line of famous running backs from the school – including Maurice Jones-Drew – junior Tiapepe Vitale (above) is now the star ball carrier, running for 168 yards and six touchdowns in the De La Salle’s Northern California Division I final win. The Spartans have won 10 in a row by a combined 458-57 since a loss to St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., early in the season. Meanwhile, Harry Welsh’s Santa Margarita squad plays for the Division I title game against San Jose Bellarmine (Friday, 8 p.m.), and Troy Starr’s San Diego Helix team meets Loomis Del Oro in the Division II title game (Saturday 4 p.m.)
NFL: St. Louis at Seattle, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
A match up of the 2-10 Rams and 5-7 Seahawks is one they only dream about in planning the “Monday Night Football” schedule months in advance. The Rams, another team rumored to be possibly heading (back) to L.A., have scored just one offensive touchdown since the first quarter of their 24-7 loss to the Seahawks on Nov. 20. And if quarterbacks Sam Bradford and A.J. Feely aren’t feeling up to playing, that’ll leave practice squad guy Tom Brandstater as St. Louis’ starter. The former Fresno State starter is with his fifth NFL team since the 2009 draft.
NHL: Kings at Boston, 4 p.m., FSW:
Nice timing to get out of town for awhile. Four losses in a row, and eight straight games with two goals or less, could give Kings’ fans a concussion from hitting their foreheads with their open palm. But that’s the situation as the team starts a four-game road trip against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Averaging a league-worst 2.2 goals a game, the Kings are also 3-for-34 on the power play over the last 10 games.
College basketball: UCLA vs. Eastern Washington, Sports Arena, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
The Pauley Pavilion renovations aren’t the only thing in the UCLA basketball program currently under construction. The rebuilding Bruins (3-5) didn’t necessarily show they were all that mightier than Penn in a four-point win last Saturday in Anaheim. Now, it’s back to the L.A. facility to host the Big Sky’s Eastern Washington, averaging 75 points a game, a mark the Bruins have topped only twice this year.
Volleyball: NCAA women’s national semifinals: UCLA vs. Florida State, 4 p.m. ESPN2; USC vs. Illinois, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2:
Jumpin’ Jupiter, how’s about another UCLA-USC finale for a national title? It happened a few weeks ago in men’s water polo (USC won) and it could take place here in San Antonio. The 28-6 Bruins got here after toppling four-time defending champion Penn State in the regional semifinals. Then it’s the 29-4 and top-ranked Women of Troy, led by senior All-American outside hitter Alex Jupiter (right), having knocked out Pepperdine in the regional finals. The title match (Saturday, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2) could be the third time USC and UCLA face each other this season. They split their two regular season meetings this season, the Trojans winning most recently 3-1 at the Wooden Center on Nov. 25.
NHL: Kings at Columbus, 4 p.m., FSW:
If not for the Ducks, the Blue Jackets would be the worst team in the Western Division. They’ve given up nearly 30 goals more than they’ve scored. The team recently hired Craig Patrick, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and a two-time Stanley Cup champion, as their new senior advisor of hockey operations.
NFL: Jacksonville at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., NFL Network:
How much more national exposure do the Jags really need?
NHL: Kings at Detroit, 4 p.m., FSW:
The Red Wings crushed the Kings, 4-1, about a month ago at Staples Center in a game that included Anze Kopitar missing a penalty shot. The Kings had won three of four games from Detroit last season.
College football: New Mexico Bowl: Temple vs. Wyoming, 11 a.m., ESPN; Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Utah State vs. Ohio, 2:30 p.m., ESPN; New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. San Diego State, 6 p.m., ESPN:
The official start of the bowl season has these three gems — at least five of the six teams have eight or more wins. The Mid-American and Mountain West are well represented, but the MAC and WAC are present as well. That says it all.
College basketball: UCLA vs. UC Davis, Honda Center, noon, Prime:
Back for another road trip to Anaheim. Is this old yet?
College basketball: USC vs. Georgia, Galen Center, 7 p.m., Prime:
The Trojans (4-6) are 334th in the country out of 345 teams in points per game at 55.1. The Bulldogs (4-5) are ranked 310th at 59.4.
NFL: Dallas at Tampa Bay, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network:
The NFL bleeds into Saturday. Get used to it for a few weeks.
NFL: New England at Denver, 1:15 p.m., Channel 2:
This Tebow-Brady match up is one that NBC tried to wrangle away from CBS and put in prime-time, but the league wouldn’t let it happen. Something about Patriots owner Bob Kraft putting his foot down because it would cut into the team’s prep time for their next game on Christmas Eve. But then, Baltimore and San Diego, the two teams stuck in that 5:20 p.m. window, have to play on Christmas Eve, too. Like 26 other teams.
NFL: Green Bay at Kansas City; 10 a.m.; Detroit at Oakland, 1 p.m.:
The Packers stay in the AFC West, picking off victories. The Raiders won’t mind that in this case. The Chiefs, however, will go at it with a new coach.
UPDATED: FRIDAY, 11:30 AM:
Todd Marinovich looks at his self-portrait called “Defeat III,” and finds it interesting that many who first see it don’t recognize him as the person in the dark shadow sitting on his helmet off to the right of the canvas.
“It’s always been one of my favorites, and that’s probably the one that I’ve sold the most,” he says in his soft voice. “I’ve done six versions of it. The bright colors take on the emotions of it. I can’t do one like I do the next.
“All I was trying to do was create something that I felt like defeat. So much more is remembered and learned in a defeat. As much fun and exciting as it was to get over a victory, it didn’t affect me in the same way as a defeat.”
As much as Marinovich experienced victory in his two years on the field at USC and three more with the Los Angeles Raiders, the defeats have been more profound.
The 42-year-old artist may want to put his football past behind him, but it’s not been so easy.
A new ESPN documentary called “The Marinovich Project,” which will debut on Saturday after the Heisman ceremony coverage, is one step toward trying to do it. (See Friday’s media column, linked here, for more information on that).
But the vibrant acrylic art that Marinovich has produced in the years following his failed NFL career and subsequent run-ins with the law over drug arrests, incarceration and rehab is far more than something to just pass the time.
“It really is therapy for me,” admitted Marinovich, married with two small children. “It allows me to be expressive and get out all those emotions and feelings that I can’t do verbally.
“I go through happy and depressed moments, and here, I can recreate every emotion that I feel as a human. Without art to express it, I’d be lost.
“It’s been fabulous for all my aftercare. I really think more art should be available to struggling addicts or alcoholics. It’s an unbelievable liberating feeling.”
The fact that Marinovich, an art major at USC before he left school for the NFL after his junior year, has been able to connect on this level with his father, Marv, who also studied art at USC, is even more amazing, considering the relationship they’ve had in the past.
Bob Abbott, a Fallbrook artist who wrote a best-selling book “Art and Reality (linked here),” has been Marinovich’s creative mentor during this stage of his life over the last three years. Marinovich lived at Abbott’s studio for two years and has contributed to a project called “Keep An Eye On Your Soul” that has been used in the women’s prison system as well as at Chapman University.
“He’s been very encouraging, because I still have doubts,” Marinovich said. “We all have that voice in our heads that tell us we suck. But it’s easier for me to deal with now.”
Abbott says Marinovich’s work is “very expressive and powerful. He’s open and experimental. I think with what he’s been through, he can really affect a positive change in a lot of people.
“He’s told me that in the times he was in jail, the only thing that saved him was the arts.”
Marinovich explains on his artwork website bio (linked here) that in drawing on his life’s experiences to create art with feel, “it’s not perfect and often times not pretty, but my goal is to evoke emotion and communicate ideas. If you as a viewer are moved by my pieces then my goal has been achieved.
“I’m an admirer of the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Expressionist movements – I can really connect with those artists’ liberation and expressive use of color. I also create wood sculptures, drawings and sketches.”
Among his creatively interpretative portraits, the ones with sports-related themes stand out in the mix.
It’s quite easy to figure out the meaning behind “45-42,” an homage to the score from his leading USC to victory over UCLA in 1990, one of the wildest finishes in the series’ history. The Xs and Os drawn on the canvas are the play that was run, with the arms of USC receiver Johnny Morton stretching out.
While there are works entitled “Marcus, “USC,” “Trojan,” “QB,” “Victory” and “No. 1,” there are others that draw on far more analysis. Like one called “The Alchemist” that appears to be Marinovich’s outline, with a fire inside of him.
Marinovich also leaves no mixed message in his mixed-media piece of artwork entitled “The Crown.”
A self-portrait of this orange face crying amidst a wall of clipped newspaper headlines about him over the years makes Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” seem rather muted.
“It just started with finding an old trunk in the garage at my grandmother’s house,” he said. “She kept everything. But I couldn’t see myself saving all these things and making a scrapbook. So I used them in my art.”
Marinovich says he’s only been able to sell “a handful” of his paintings that he’s made available in the last year on his website, toddmarinovich.com. Originals and signed reproductions are available for all to order.
Or, you can just just look them online, ponder their meaning, and remember the days when Marinovich was on your TV set in a seemingly happier place.
“Some of them are harder to walk away from,” said Marinovich, speaking again about “The Crown” portrait. “That was very personal. I didn’t have to do much work to get at what I wanted. I didn’t start off trying to be cool and make an orange portrait of myself. It just happened. It looked at myself as naked. The crown, that’s a little bit of symbolism.
“A lot of people have commented on it, but no one has bought it yet. The only one who really says they’d love to have it is my brother (Mikhail, a senior linebacker at Syracuse).”
A quarterback has the creativity of an artist all the time on the football field. Now, this old quarterback can create new plays with his brushes.
“I’m just so grateful I’m able to create art,” he said. “I get to play with paint. As an athlete I got to play with a football.”
This is his new window of opportunity. Or, simply “Window,” as in the work entitled below.
The Associated Press
WILMINGTON, Del. — A judge said Thursday that he would overrule an objection by Fox Sports and approve a process for the Dodgers to sell the media rights to future games as part of the team’s plan to exit bankruptcy.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross said at the end of a two-day hearing that he would approve the Dodgers’ plan to sell media rights to games starting in 2014, a key component of a settlement with Major League Baseball that also calls for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to sell the team.
“I just think it’s in the debtors’ best interests,” said Gross, who told attorneys he would issue a formal written ruling in a few days.
Fox Sports attorney Greg Werkheiser asked Gross to stay his ruling for 14 days so Fox can file an appeal in U.S. District Court.